Pressure Mounts for Presidential Actions on Drug Prices

Pressure Mounts for Presidential Actions on Drug Prices

When it comes to seniors’ issues, the main focus of Congress continues to be on the high cost of prescription drugs.  The Republicans in the Senate continue to unanimously refuse to support the broad legislation put forth by Democrats that includes provisions to reduce drug prices, and Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) still has not agreed to the bill, meaning there are not enough Democratic votes to pass it.

Democratic leaders in the Senate are negotiating with Manchin to see if they can make the changes he seeks so they can pass the bill this year but so far, there has been no breakthrough.

Because of the impasse, there is a group of nearly 100 liberal Democratic members in the House who are urging President Biden to issue executive orders insofar as he can, to lower drug prices.  While that is one way to overcome Congressional deadlock, it may be only temporary.

That’s because executive orders by one President can easily be overturned by another, or by the courts.

President Obama signed 276 executive orders and hundreds of presidential memoranda during his eight years in office, while President Trump issued 220 executive orders during his single term.

President Biden has issued 84 executive orders so far and in his first days in office he overturned many Trump-era policies.

Democrats prefer to pass legislation that would make the drug-price reductions permanent, but if negotiations with Senator Manchin continue to prove fruitless, it becomes more likely that the President will issue some sort of executive orders.